We started in the town, which was fine. I assumed we were going to go somewhere kind of close to far away from civilization, but no such luck. Once we went down the alley I decided I was a little scared. I knew it was a tour, and there were a bunch of other people. The woman leading seemed like she was friendly, but she was definitely stern. I don’t hold that against her. Leading a group of people around in the middle of the night that may or may not understand you would be a daunting task. I’m not sure if I was scared because it was dark and I just couldn’t see anything, or because I didn’t know where I was going. I’d like to think that it was just because I didn’t know where I was going.
At one point on our journey, we came close to a beach lined with palm trees. I figured that this would be our turtle watching location, and I prepared to walk onto the beach. The area had a couple of street lights (there weren’t any streets) that made it so that one could see the entire area. Everything was kind of wide open, too, which made me feel a little better. But no such luck. We were going to descend somewhere into the jungle with the creepy crawlies and the biting monkeys! Joy! So along we went, until we successfully managed to get to some shelter thing. My eyes had finally adjusted to the pitch black environment, so I was a little bit disappointed when our tour guide turned on her flashlight. It was blinding, really, but I got used to it.
While we were seated on stone benches of sorts, our tour guide told us a little bit about the turtles that we would hopefully be seeing. I say hopefully because she told us that we may or may not see any turtles, but either way, we had a two hour long tour, no matter what.
During this time that we were seated on the benches, two things happened. First, another tour group (or two, I couldn’t tell for sure) came along and sat down on the opposite side of the shelter. The second thing that happened was that the turtle finding people came. See, you don’t just go out on the beach and look for some turtles with flashlights and hope they don’t run away, there are special people that do that who tell you which way to go and stuff. They also have special red lights, and they don’t allow photography of any kind.
We got to see two turtles. One, was going back out to the sea, and the other laid her eggs in a hole that she had dug herself, and then covered back up after laying the eggs. They’re extremely cute creatures, turtles. They appear to be a little clumsy, but you can forgive them. It’s gotta suck a little to carry around that giant shell on your back all the time!
There’s a lot to think about as a female turtle in a relationship. You don’t just have to lay your eggs, but you have to dig a hole to lay them in as well. Then, after you give birth, it is vital that you cover the eggs up so that predators don’t get them. Then you camouflage the area, and go back out to sea, all in the same night. It sounds exhausting. You have to leave your own eggs behind too, which is a little… sad.
I felt a little bit sorry for the turtles. They were surrounded by people. I doubt that I would like that very much, giving birth while a bunch of giant human things stood around pointing and watching me… But turtles don’t have frontal lobes, so I suppose they maybe don’t think quite as much about it. I’m not sure.
We then walked back through the tree tunnel (as I like to call it) that supposedly had snakes everywhere (I didn’t see any, but there probably were many all around. I wouldn’t be surprised.) hanging from trees or whatnot. There was a cute little bug that everybody in the tour was huddled around. It looked like it had green glowing LEDs for eyes… Like something a person would put in a ‘bug room’ in a haunted house. It was a cute little bug, I wanted to take it home with me but I wasn’t really sure if I actually wanted to keep a bug as a pet considering there were various cockroaches and numerous ants that I could adopt if I really wanted a bug for a pet. I still want a little green eyed bug though.
I usually don’t like the word ‘tour’ anywhere in the world. It invokes both a sense of fear and annoyance into me, but this tour actually wasn’t half bad. It was casually informative, and rather interesting. Plus, I didn’t have to be stuck with all the people on the tour for a long time. It was worth going, even though the trip to Tortuguero from Atenas was pretty difficult.